The horrific practice of child sacrifice has been committed throughout  the world for thousands of years. Generally, the sacrifice of a child was  intertwined with the worship of a pagan deity, often a fertility god. Worshipers  sought to obtain a blessing from their god(s) or to confirm or complete a vow  taken in the name of the god. There is  also a correlation between child sacrifice and modern-day abortion.

Ancient Aztecs, Incas, and a few other  people in South and Central America practiced child sacrifice. The same for the  Druids of Europe. The city of Carthage in North Africa contains evidence of  child sacrifice related to the worship of Ba’al Hammon, a god imported from  Phoenicia. Many Roman writers refer to this barbaric act in Carthage.

The Bible contains the heart-breaking tale of child sacrifice practiced in the  name of Molech (also spelled Moloch or Molek), a  god of the Ammonites. Molech worship was practiced  by the Ammonites and Canaanites, who revered Molech as a protecting father  figure. Images of Molech were made of bronze, and their outstretched arms were  heated red-hot. Living children were then placed into the idol’s hands and died  there or were rolled into a fire pit below. Some sources indicate a child might  also be “passed through the fire” prior to the actual sacrifice in order to  purify or baptize the child. Molech worship occurred in the Hinnom Valley near  Jerusalem. Because of this, the valley became associated with the idea of  Tophet, or hell (Isaiah  30:33; Jeremiah  19:12; Mark  9:45).

God prohibited Israel from child sacrifice in general and  Molech worship in particular. Leviticus  20:2-5 states, “Say to the Israelites: ‘Any Israelite or any foreigner  residing in Israel who sacrifices any of his children to Molek is to be put to  death. The members of the community are to stone him. I myself will set my face  against him and will cut him off from his people; for by sacrificing his  children to Molek, he has defiled my sanctuary and profaned my holy name. If the  members of the community close their eyes when that man sacrifices one of his  children to Molek and if they fail to put him to death, I myself will set my  face against him and his family and will cut them off from their people together  with all who follow him in prostituting themselves to Molek.’” Many other Old  Testament passages affirm God’s zero-tolerance for child sacrifice.

Sadly, King Solomon became involved in this  horrendous practice, as recorded in 1 Kings  11:4-11, “As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods,  and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David  his father had been. He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and  Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. So Solomon did evil in the eyes of  the LORD. . . . On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for  Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molek the detestable god of the  Ammonites. . . . The LORD became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned  away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. Although  he had forbidden Solomon to follow other gods, Solomon did not keep the LORD’s  command.”

Later, the evil king Manassah offered his own son as a  sacrifice (2 Kings  21:6), as did King Ahaz (2  Chronicles 28:1-4). The people of Judah participated in this crime against  their own sons—a sin so “detestable” that God said it had never even crossed His  mind (Jeremiah  32:35). Child sacrifice was one reason for the Babylonian  captivity (verse 36).

Some critics of the Bible point to the story  of Abraham, who laid his son Isaac on an altar  and prepared to sacrifice him as directed by God (Genesis  22:1-14). However, in this case, God was testing the obedience and faith of Abraham. God  stopped him from actually following through and provided a ram as a substitute  sacrifice.

Today, child sacrifice is practiced throughout the world.  There has been a resurgence of child sacrifice in Uganda. Witch doctors have  been implicated in the mutilation and death of children who were killed in an  effort to bring good fortune and wealth to those willing to pay for it. There is  also a correlation between child sacrifice and modern-day abortion.  Unprecedented numbers of children have been “sacrificed” at the hands of  abortionists for the sake of convenience, immorality, or pride. Hundreds of  thousands of babies have been killed so that their parents can maintain a  certain lifestyle. God hates “hands that shed innocent blood” (Proverbs 6:17), and we can  be sure that God will judge this horrendous sin.